Construction is a large and complex worldwide industry constantly shaped by new information technologies, advanced materials, environmental policies, regulations and changing building methods. Most importantly, though, construction is shaped by people. Sustaining a strong industry requires attracting and valuing a skilled, career-driven, high quality workforce... who also like to build! How is the construction industry attracting the skilled workforce for future growth market demands? Do prospective candidates see construction as a viable career choice?

First Lady Michelle Obama appears in a new public service announcement aimed at promoting higher education to the youth of America. In the video, Mrs. Obama and Saturday Night Live's Jay Pharoah sing:

"If you wanna fly jets, you should go to college. Reach high and cash checks, fill your head with knowledge.

If you wanna watch paint don't go to college.

But, for everything else you should go to college."

   Read more » about More and More States Offer Multiple Career Paths

“Congratulations, you have been selected to be a part of the team! Your starting date will be….”

There are no sweeter words than these that I’ve heard in the eight months I scratched and clawed, typed, copied and pasted my instrument and electrical technician resume and work applications day after day. Of course, with some breaks in between as I focused on school, I prepped myself to get back into the workforce. After getting settled in, signing paperwork, and completing training modules, it is finally time to get moving!

One word came to mind as I put on my hard hat and safety goggles after completing my training modules: Planning. If you fail to plan, plan to fail.

As I start my day, I go into my emails and check to see what is lined up for the day. Whether it be PMs (preventative maintenance), specific projects, such as replacing a valve, or completing company training modules, the day starts off by planning.     Read more » about A Day in the Life of an Instrument and Electrical Technician

Editor’s note: This is the first article in a series which will span three generations of craft workers who have enhanced career opportunities for themselves and others through participation in the workforce development program at Jacobs.

Brandon Moore, Pipe Welder at Jacobs, currently works on the ExxonMobil Refinery project in Baytown, Texas.  Last March, Moore became the 2015 ABC National Craft Champion Gold Medal Winner in Structural Welding by completing a two-hour written exam then competing in daylong hands-on practical performance tests.  He received his welding training from the Jacobs Developmental Program and Lee College under the Construction and Maintenance Educational Foundation (CMEF), a training affiliate of ABC Greater Houston.  After winning the national title, he told Construction Citizen’s Jeff Stautner about how his training helped him prepare for the competition:

“[ABC/CMEF] taught me the right way straight from the start.  When it came time for the competition, they made absolutely sure I had everything I could possibly need to be prepared.  They contacted Jacobs and arranged that I have time to practice at work, learn from more welders and perfect my technique.   Read more » about Spotlight on Welding: Never Stop Learning

One of the perhaps ironic challenges discovered by Construction Citizen during the publication’s recent visit to Lee College is that because jobs in the petrochemical industry can be so lucrative, we have some trouble at times recruiting enough instructors to meet demands.

Ideal candidates for instructors are people with industry experience, but our college and others often can’t pay enough to lure them from the well-paying jobs they currently hold. My colleague Layton Childress, Dean of Applied Sciences, said "I've never seen such demand where the jobs are there and the salaries are so high.” He added that many students “don't even realize what an opportunity they have here to go to school for two years and then be set for life.”    Read more » about Leave a Legacy: Become a Teacher of the Skilled Trades

After a yearlong debate about the right way to handle it, the Dallas City Council this week passed a requirement for mandatory rest breaks for construction workers.

Under the new rules, which passed on a vote of 10 to 5, construction workers will be guaranteed 10 minutes of rest for every four hours worked. Construction workers and their advocates broke into applause in the city council chambers Wednesday morning after the vote. There was very little discussion of of the measure by council members in the moments before the vote.    Read more » about Dallas Adopts Mandatory Rest Breaks for Construction Workers

Determination, dedication and diligence…

Those words seemed to be the trending topic amongst industry leaders on Thursday, November 19, 2015 as construction industry and educational leaders joined together at the ABC & CMEF Workforce Development Luncheon held at the NRG Center in Houston, Texas. Their goal, you may ask? To inform fellow Houstonians about current workforce development activities, construction career opportunities and the benefits of the NCCER curriculum.

The presenters list included Michael Gremillion, Vice President—Houston Office, ISC Constructors, LLC; Mike Holland, Chief Operating Officer for Marek; Donnie McCoy, Senior Operations Manager at Austin Industrial; Renea Dillon, Director at Goose Creek Consolidated ISD and Career & Technical Education Principal at the Stuart Career Center; Ezequiel Garcia, CTHS CTE Department Chair and Welding Instructor at Pasadena ISD; and Eleazar Hinojosa, Fabrication Division Welder at Turner Industries Group.    Read more » about Developing the Construction Workforce —It’s more than just adding Manpower

With the Gulf Coast area petrochemical industry needing more than 50,000 new workers within the decade, nine community colleges have set out to find and train this “next generation” of skilled workers, enabled by a grant from the ExxonMobil Foundation.

Now in its third year, the Community College Petrochemical Initiative has spread the word across the region that average salaries in this expanding industry average $99,700. It’s not surprising that enrollments in training programs, such as those at San Jacinto College, are growing significantly.

In August, representatives from all nine partnering community colleges in the Texas Gulf Coast region, along with ExxonMobil, met in the Nolan Ryan Center on the Alvin Community College campus to present more than $60,000 in scholarships to 43 selected students.

San Jacinto College process technology students Gladys Jackson, Laura Plazibat, and Austen Riche; along with instrumentation student Jonathan Gallo, were all at the recent event where they each received $1,000 or $2,000 scholarships.    Read more » about Students Receive Scholarships to Pursue Training for Petrochemical Careers

The following article originally appeared in the November newsletter to clients of Kiley Advisors, LLC.  Reprinted with permission.

Recently, I participated in a panel discussion for the Houston AGC Construction Leadership Council (CLC), the future stars of our industry.  The three panelists were Howard Tellepsen, Stan Marek, and Charlie Nelson – three legendary figures in the Houston construction community.  My privileged job was to interview them, using questions provided by the CLC members.

They shared their experience and their insights into success and leadership; you could not pick three better models of “best in class.”  Howard and Stan, as company owners [of Tellepsen and Marek], represent outstanding examples of leading extremely successful companies while giving their time, talent and treasure to the industry and to the community, in amazing amounts.  Charlie, a senior vice-president with Gilbane Building Company, is an iconic and revered field leader.   Read more » about Immigrant Construction Workers – A Proud Industry Heritage